Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows - DVD Review

'Yes, Sherlock and Watson still have a love/hate relationship, yes, the script by Michele and Kieran Mulroney is still sharp and joke-laden and yes, Gladstone the dog is still the butt of much laughter.'

By virtue of being almost exactly the same film, in terms of style, tone and content as Guy Ritchie's first stab at adapting Arthur Conan Doyle's detective - 2009's originally titled, Sherlock Holmes - Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows secures its place as a worthy sequel in a franchise that is fast becoming Warner Brothers' final 'banker'.

Everything that you enjoyed/hated (delete as appropriate) from the first film is here again. Yes, Sherlock and Watson (Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law) still have a love/hate relationship, yes, the script by Michele and Kieran Mulroney is still sharp and joke-laden and yes, Gladstone the dog is still the butt of much laughter. Where other Warners' franchises (notably Potter) have gone for differing looks and tones in each offering this one seems to opt for the comforting blanket of familiarity, no great problem in only its second outing, especially when the bulk of the content is this good.

The new material is left to characters and plot, both of which prove somewhat hit and miss. Mycroft (Stephen Fry) is initially a welcome introduction but becomes tiresome once it becomes clear that Stephen Fry is just going to be Stephen Fry for the duration. A late body-driven 'laugh' shows that the character really had nowhere clever to go from the outset. Moriarty (Jared Harris) is more successful but struggles to match Mark Strong's previous villain for sheer nefariousness and Noomi Rapace as Simza is good when she's given something to do.

The real 'change', if in fact there is one, is Kelly Reilly's Mary, who gets an increased role which elevates her from plot component to active character. Surely her involvement in the inevitable third offering is assured and, with a bit of clever thinking, could be played up even more, Reilly proving a charming presence whenever she's on screen.

At least as good as the previous film but it won't get away with just treading familiar water for a third time.


  1. I have to disagree on this one. Sherlock Holmes is ony of my favorite films, I truly love it, but this sequel disappointed me massively. It was not that gripping, it was dull, and it was forgettable.

    However, I'm always glad to know that other people enjoyed a film that I haven't, because it means that filmmakers sisn't make it in vain.

    By the way, I agree on Reilly. A very good actress and I'd be happy of they give her even more screen time.

    1. Yeah, I don't think I've seen her in anything else but by involving her in the mystery more in this one they've given the third instalments' writers an easy way to write her a bigger part. Hopefully it will come to pass.

  2. I think you are exactly right that this is basically the same movie as the first, as far as style goes at least. There was less character building, obviously, which left room for more action, but that was really the only difference I picked up on. I missed this movie in theaters, but decided to check it out after a coworker at Dish recommended it as better than the first. I rented it through my Blockbuster @Home account, and it came in the mail yesterday. My girlfriend and I had a good time watching it, and we will probably go see the third now. I was able to rent the Blu-Ray too, which was great and really gave us that home theater experience. I have to agree with your recommendation too, that if you liked the first it is worth a watch, if not you are not really missing anything that will go down in film history.